Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail
Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail is a real gem. This 13.4 km moderately difficult trail is located at the base of Thimble Peak in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness on the northeast edge of Tucson. It’s excellent for its ease of access from the city and for its diverse, beautiful terrain. You’ll hike next to towering saguaros and prickly pears, witness the area’s astounding bird population fly by, and end your hike at the Broadmoor Seven Falls. At the falls, there is a series of gorgeous pools that can be used to cool off.
This canyon can reach scorching temperatures in the middle of the day. Start your hike early, bring plenty of water, and avoid hiking this route in the summertime if at all possible. Since this is such a popular hike, midweek visits are recommended if possible.
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Route Description for Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail
The Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the Tucson area. It’s conveniently accessible from the northeastern edge of the city near the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. The scenery is excellent, the trail is only moderately challenging, and the waterfall and swimming hole at the end are the perfect rewards.
This route travels through the Bear Canyon, where tall saguaros and big prickly pears line your path. This canyon is known for its diversity of bird species, so birders and casual enthusiasts alike will want to keep their eyes on the sky.
This route can get very hot during the heat of the day, so start your hike early. Also, bring more water than you think you might need and wear sunscreen and a hat as you hike. We generally recommend avoiding hiking around Tucson in the summer months as it presents a risk of heatstroke.
This route doesn’t allow dogs, so leave your pups at home. You’ll need to pay a small fee to access Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, but once you’re parked, look for the trailhead southeast of the visitor center.
Take Bear Canyon Trail #29 towards the canyon. At the fork, stay right. Stay right again across Sabino Creek. There are restrooms and picnic tables with a view of Bear Canyon.
Past the shuttle stop, you’ll encounter the first of seven creek crossings. Keep in mind that these crossings can be challenging if there’s lots of water in Bear Creek, so water shoes are recommended. Should the water be too high for you to cross safely, come back another time. The wash may be dry at certain times of the year, but other times it will be flowing. Look for cairns on the crossings to help you stay on track.
After the seventh crossing, you’ll take two quick switchbacks to climb above the creek. Stay left where a route switchbacks up the canyon wall to the right.
The Seven Falls Overlook is before the falls. Stop here for a moment to take in the view. The falls are most often flowing between October and May, but may also flow at other times if there’s been recent rain. Descend to the falls where the swimming hole awaits.
When you’re done, return on the same trail.
Hiking Route Highlights
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area
The Sabino Canyon is a large canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Coronado National Forest. The Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is a popular destination for local hikers and adventurers, providing walking trails, hiking routes, and biking trails. Bear Canyon is in this recreation area, and the canyon is known for its desert vegetation and a wide variety of bird species. The canyon is home to the Broadmoor Seven Falls, a popular swimming area.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a shuttle at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area?
Yes, there is a shuttle that runs from the visitor center, offering a narrated, educational 45-minute tour in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Can you drive through Sabino Canyon?
Traveling through the canyon is only allowed on foot or horseback.
Are there bears in Sabino Canyon Recreation Area?
Bears and mountain lions live in the mountains near Sabino Canyon, but interactions with humans are rare.
Insider Hints for Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail
- There is an $8 day-use fee per vehicle or a $10 weekly fee for this hike.
- Bring water shoes for the creek crossings.
Getting to the Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail Trailhead
The trailhead for the Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail is in the parking area for the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center.
Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail Elevation Graph
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Bear Canyon to Seven Falls Trail Reviews
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